The general secretary of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI), Kieran Christie has said that the Minister for Education acted prematurely in issuing the guidelines for teachers in assessing predicted grades for this year’s Leaving Certificate.
The Minister should not have “put out the details” as there were issues that had not been completely resolved, said Mr Christie.
On Wednesday the ASTI, which is the country’s largest teachers’ union, instructed its members not to engage with the process as plans to indemnify teachers against legal action were not strong enough and could potentially lead to personal liabilities for second-level teachers.
“We asked the department to delay any announcement until all the ‘i’s were dotted and the ‘t’s were crossed,” the general secretary told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Mr Christie said that the Minister’s ‘premature’ announcement was “unfortunate”, but he feared there was an attitude that making the announcement early would force teachers to “put up or shut up.”
“We have a duty to our members to protect them.”
The ASTI was committed to engaging with the process and will “move might and main every hour” to break the impasse, he added. Further assessment and clarification is required, said Mr Christie as the union’s legal experts had raised concerns about the level of indemnity waiver for teachers.
Full details of the legal costs to be covered by the indemnity waiver needed to be clarified, he said. The document as it is “lacks specificity” he said and teachers “could be caught for one-third of (legal) costs.”